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“Lady in Gold” unearthed on Crete

Archaeologists made an important discovery when they unearthed an ancient female skeleton covered with gold foil in a grave in the ancient city of Eleutherna on the northern foothills of Mount Ida near Rethymno, Crete. The finding dates back to the early Archaic Period.
The findings were inside a 2,700-year-old twin tomb, the only one in ancient Eleutherna, located very close to a necropolis of fallen warriors. The woman, of high social or religious status, was interred with a second skeleton in a large jar placed behind a false wall, to ward off body snatchers.
The tiny gold ornaments, ranging from 1 to 4cm long, in different forms (square, triangle, and diamond-shaped) were found next to the remains of the woman, discovered a few weeks ago by a team led by archaeology professor Nicholas Stampolidis of the University of Crete – head of the Eleutherna excavation.
A unique jewelry piece depicting a bee as a goddess was also found amongst the thousands of gold plaques. Excavators also unearthed perfume bottles, hundreds of amber, rock crystal and faience beads and a gold pendant in the form of a bee goddess.
The findings are so extraordinary that they justify the decision made recently by the Archaeological Institute of America to include the excavations at ancient Eleutherna among the best worldwide.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Carnival Celebrations in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece’s Carnival season known as “Apokries” is a period of eating, drinking, dancing and masquerading. Traditionally, it begins ten weeks before Greek Orthodox Easter and culminates on the weekend before “Clean Monday,” (Ash Monday) the first day of Lent. This year, the carnival season lasts from February 8 until March 2. The roots of Carnival celebrations and customs can be traced back to ancient Greece and are linked to the worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and festivity. In fact, Carnival is closely related to the cultural heritage of each region and every year many traditional customs are being revived in different parts of the country. The Patras Carnival is the most popular in Greece, ranking among the top carnival celebrations in the world. The Carnival of Xanthi (Thrace) and Skyros include more traditional events (Skyros – Carnival) . In Corfu and Rethymno (Crete), the celebrations have absorbed a slightly Venetian flavour from the periods that the islands were under the control of Venice. In Galaxidi, Carnival events culminate on the first Monday of Lent with a parade of floats, transformed into a battlefield, as the “warriors” merciless pelt each other with ample quantities of variously coloured flour.   Agrotravel.gr – Information Gate to Greek Rural Tourism: Carnival Events Around Greece  Athens Plus (February 13): “Fokida: Come and Join the Carnival (13.02.09, p.42) 

Ancient Precious Graves Unveiled in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     In a rich, ancient cemetery in northern Greece near Pella, archaeologists have unearthed 43 new graves unveiling the bodies of 20 warriors with copper helmets and iron swords, daggers and spearheads. Ornaments of gold foil covered their mouths, eyes and chests as part of the burial offerings found inside the graves.   According to the Culture Ministry’s press release following the first excavation “the settlement (to which the cemetery belonged) flourished in wealth and population mainly during the archaic period”, while “the funerary use of (the gold ornaments) and the other grave goods points to a strong belief in life after death, and rebirth.”  Associated Press: Rich finds from ancient cemetery in Greece